The television subgenre manages to adapt to a wide range of approaches
The horror genre’s ability to engage with different approaches, probably way beyond anything any other genre can do, is not only fascinating but ensures its survival over time thanks to audience interest that never really falters. It is from this characteristic that revolutions such as The Exorcist with simple slot machines of famous brands such as Dracula 2000 were born.
Determining which age group will consume the product is also an important moment in pre-production, especially for producers to get an idea of the time it will take to make their investment profitable. For a long time, horror films did not target a specific age group, their directors were concerned about not modifying the material too much because they were too violent.
However, this “age-related disinterest” suffered an unexpected (and most likely accidental) setback in the 1970s; a period marked by an increased political commitment of young citizens and by ideological clashes with their own parents or older people. The confusion of the new configuration of society is noticeable in the events that followed, such as the sexual liberation led by Playboy magazine, the pacifism of the Hippie movement and the increase in violence in urban centers caused by criminals of younger and younger.
Filmmakers understood the social change of their time
1974 was an interesting year to position itself as the zero point of this dialogue between terror and youth thanks to the releases of Noite do Terror and Massacre da Serra Elétrica. Both are the earliest known examples of the slasher faithfully following the formula of an assassin hunting youngsters and killing one by one. The former is a prime example for noting how the rules of the famous subgenre emerged but its charm, for the time, was its visual distribution which managed to produce in parts of the audience a sense of representation that was not common in films of the genre. .
The second follows much of the path mentioned above: applying the rules of the slasher and young actors. However, Massacre da Serra Elétrica is a potential film case deliberately designed to engage with the chaotic storyline of the time. At one point in the book The Chainsaw Massacre, signed by Stefan Jaworzyn, the previous career of the film’s director, Tobe Hooper, is briefly discussed, as well as a bit of his previous work; 1969 Eggshells.
The filmmaker himself says that this work was entirely conceived during the explosion of the Hippie movement and that he dialogues directly with them. So her next production doesn’t accidentally repeat many of the elements seen in Eggshells, such as a visually youthful cast and an unexpected depiction of the era’s alternative culture – which is noticeable when looking at the main outfit of the distribution, drug use for pleasure and sex. freedom they demonstrate.
“Massacre da Serra Elétrica” subliminal dialogue with the youth of the 70s
Over the years and decades the slasher has grown stronger and has shown it can generate a positive financial return. This led to its dominance in the 1980s and its eventual erosion, when the market was already saturated with sequences of famous franchises and the new brands that emerged were essentially remakes of other established brands.
But it is in the cinema, which alone already has much wider budgets and all the attention of the big references in the industry. On television, the terror seen as juvenile has the way, since the first years, to be always less frightening than it should be and more adolescent than necessary. To put it better, many of the earliest examples of youthful horror on television date back to the 1990s, dominated half to late by the metalanguage offered by the films in the Scream franchise.
Now, the horror was much less about an intimidating setting or atmosphere (as it was in the past with Psycho and Halloween) and more about how it interacted with the everyday elements of a very specific section of the general public. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer is a typical product of this period; released in 1996, it blends the traditionally creepy figure of the vampire with the teenage culture of the time, paving the way for supernatural romance productions that years later would form the channel grid like The CW.
The “Scream” revolution came from his ability to understand his target audience.
Starting in 2010, there was a sudden interest in programs involving the mentioned slasher theme, the most famous being producer Ryan Murphy’s visit to the genre with his Scream Queens. Murphy had already proven himself ready to handle this kind of scenario, whether it was quality horror in the first seasons of American Horror Story or knowing how to work a modern teenage tone reasonably well for television. with Glee.
Of course, you can’t forget Scream, even though it had far greater limitations than the competing series released in 2015. As much as it had no connection with the namesake movie franchise, the difference in casting quality between the two. two series is noticeable. . , which made Scream appealing to gore scenes a lot more often than Scream Queens. Another weakness exhibited by the series was that while Ryan Murphy’s production relied heavily on incorrect humor so as not to get stuck only in murder scenes, Scream didn’t offer the same versatility to audiences.
Even though the two series are no longer active, their “legacy” may still be alive, specifically in the upcoming Amazon series: Panic, this one which recently debuted with a premise that mixes Mortal Games with teenage legacy. horror; both in cinema and television.
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